Indispensable Ulu

Tales and Treasures from the rich legacy of the Hudson’s Bay Company.

Written by Beverley Tallon

May 15, 2012

The Inuit knife known as an ulu was traditionally a woman’s cutting tool.

This example was made in the early twentieth century in the area of Port Harrison, Quebec. It has a crescent-shaped metal blade and an ivory handle decorated with fish and lines.

A smaller ulu with a five-centimetre blade was used for slitting animal sinew to make thread and cord, and to cut patterns. Larger ulus were used to scrape animal hides, fillet fish, or slice meat.

This article originally appeard in the April-May 2012 issue of Canada’s History magazine.

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